Guy Ritchie has done it again. “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” is the second Sherlock Holmes movie Guy Ritchie has directed. The first one wasn’t that good, so I was not excited for this one at all. I went in expecting the same thing over again, but I still had hopes that it would be good. Well, it wasn’t good. It actually turned out worse than the first one. Guy Ritchie is just not the right director for this. He doesn’t know how to make a Sherlock Holmes movie. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creations have suffered permanently because of him.
A lot of bad things have been happening lately. Bombs start going off in Strasbourg and Vienna, an American mogul has suddenly dropped dead, and a prince has committed suicide. These events seem random. But eccentric detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) discovers that they is a new villain on the loose. The villain is Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). Professor Moriarty is not all about power though, he is after Holmes himself. He is also after Holmes best friend Dr. John Watson (Jude Law), Watson has just gotten married, but is not quite ready to retire from his sleuthing. Moriarty seems to be one step ahead the whole time, and for the first time Holmes may not be the smartest man in the room.
The worst thing about the first Sherlock Holmes movie was that they got a perfect Sherlock Holmes, this would be Robert Downey Jr. He was a perfect choice for the role, and he delivered. So it was a pity that the movie wasn’t nearly as good as his performance. Robert Downey Jr. is not as good here as he was in the first one(I am not saying he is bad, just not as good). He is currently doing two franchises, Iron Man, and Sherlock Holmes. So it seems like he is focusing more on the better franchise, Iron Man, and he is just not really trying to give a great performance here. If this is the case, I don’t blame him. Iron Man has good direction, and a good script to help him (a great script for the first one). Here, he has none of that.
Ritchie’s fast deconstruction of Holmes thought process seems wasted on what if situations instead of on the actual detective work. Holmes will put some clues together, and then he will have a flashback that explains everything. That annoys me because Holmes is a detective, lets watch him be a real detective for once. I realize that this is not supposed to be a super realistic movie, but there is a line you can cross when it becomes to stupid. Another thing Ritchie does wrong is the slow motion. It is strange because I like how it was used in the first movie. The slow motion in the movie is overused to an extent that it starts to get on your nerves. There is one scene in the whole movie where it worked extremely well, but just that one. The action scenes in general are fun to watch for the most part. The script needed to be tighter. At times we are left with things that don’t make much sense at all. The bromance between Holmes and Watson is good. The actors play off each other well, and they are enjoyable to watch.
The villain wasn’t handled as well as he should have been. I didn’t feel like Moriarty was quite the evil enemy of Holmes that Sir Arthur Conan Doyle made him out to be. He just didn’t feel as conniving or malicious as expected. Also, there’s not really any back story on why Moriarty hates Holmes. It feels implied, relying more on the audience’s knowledge of Sherlock Holmes lore than explaining it through plot elements in the movie. “A Game of Shadows” probably would have benefited from another scene or two between Moriarty and Holmes, at least to create more tension and build some drama. Jared Harris was miscast as well. He doesn’t do a bad job, but I feel another actor could have done more. None of the acting is outstanding, but everyone turns in a nice performance.
The movie would be to silly for it’s own good at times. What surprised me was the last 15 minutes of the movie. It was actually great. But it was to little to late, I mean this movie is over 2 and a half hours. There is some light entertainment here and there, but overall there is noting here.